Yuletide cheer returns once again.
Throggs Neck’s annual Christmas Tree Lighting and Toy Giveaway, hosted by Assemblyman Michael Benedetto and the Throggs Neck Merchants Association, will take place from 5 to 8 p.m. on Sunday, December 6.
As is a Holiday tradition, the event will be held at DeRosa O’Boyle Triangle at the Cross Bronx Expressway and East Tremont Avenue, directly across from the Throggs Neck Library.
During the ceremony, the St. Benedict’s chorus will sing Christmas carols, there will be a visit from the North Pole from Saint Nick and Santa will give out gifts to the children. Hot chocolate and cookies will be served too.
This year’s ceremony holds special meaning, said Assemblyman Benedetto, who is working with the Parks Department to have a permanent memorial Christmas tree planted in the park and dedicated to his former chief-of-staff Ben Randazzo.
Randazzo, who passed in early November, was instrumental in planning and coordinating the tree lighting and toy giveaway for years.
The assemblyman said that the yearly event, which he has been involved in during his 11 years in office, usually draws several hundred families.
“Since the Throggs Neck Merchants Association got involved with this, they have put together a really nice effort, and I guess word got around that some of the gifts they give are really nice,” he said.
Steven Kaufman, TNBA president, spoke of the importance of having a Christmas tree for the community, adding that purchasing the gifts is costly, but very worthwhile.
“A neighborhood that is not celebrating the holiday and helping children out, giving them gifts that they might not be able to get from anyone else, is not a neighborhood,” said Kaufman. “So we in our community are reaching out our hearts to all the kids who for some reason or another are not getting any gifts. We want to give them a gift.”
Events like the tree lighting are what make the Throggs Neck community special.
The merchant’s association president said that he feels that it is very important to have events like this because it shows that we want to bring warmth and happiness to children in the community.
“What is Christmas without a Christmas tree?” Kaufman asked, adding that the merchants are also raising funds for holiday lights along East Tremont Avenue to the tune of about $24,000.
Around the same time as the Throggs Neck event, the Waterbury-LaSalle Community Association will host its own tree lighting at Schneider-Sampson Square on Sunday, December 6.
Association board member Mary Jane Musano said that Santa Claus will ride into the park on a horse drawn carriage sponsored by Chateau Stables.
Once Santa arrives, the Christmas tree in the park will be lit and Santa will distribute stockings stuffed with presents to all the children, she said.